When should you start cardiac rehabilitation?
There are usually three phases to cardiac rehabilitation programs. Not everyone does phase one, but if you do, you will start this while you are still in the hospital after treatment for a heart attack or other heart problem. In many hospitals you will be given information about your condition and treatment. Often a member of the cardiac rehabilitation team will talk to you and your family about:
- Details around your recovery
- Returning to normal activities
- Lifestyle changes
- How you can reduce your risk of further heart events or complications.
A phase two rehabilitation can start at any time, but will often begin soon after you leave the hospital, when you may be asked if you would like to attend a phase two cardiac rehabilitation programme. These supervised programmes generally run over six to 12 weeks and begin soon after discharge from hospital. Most programmes involve an exercise component and information/education sessions on your heart condition, treatment, risks and lifestyle changes, such as exercise and nutrition, as well as advice on returning to work, daily living activities and mental health support.
Phase three rehabilitation happens in the community. This stage of rehabilitation is on-going and can involve peer support, exercise sessions and/or support to make lifestyle changes to stay well with heart disease.